Understanding the text
Answer the following questions.
a. Describe the claim of the Chinese nationalists about the human history.
➜ Chinese nationalists claim that history began with the Yellow Emperor and the Xia and Shang dynasties and that anything accomplished by Westerners, Muslims, or Indians is but a pale imitation of genuine Chinese achievements.
b. What do pious Muslims believe about the human history?
➜ Pious Muslims believe that all history before the Prophet Muhammad is mostly meaningless and that all history following the Quran’s revelation revolves around the Muslim ummah.
c. What did the Aztecs firmly believe about the universe?
➜ The Aztecs firmly believed about the universe that without the annual sacrifices, the sun would not rise and the whole cosmos would collapse.
d. What, according to the essay, are the universal human abilities?
➜ According to the essay, the universal human abilities are morality, art, spirituality and creativity.
e. How are the basic yoga postures derived from the shape of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet?
➜ The basic yoga postures are derived from the shape of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet as the yoga posture Trikonasanna imitates the form of the Hebrew letter ‘aleph,’ Tuladandasana imitates the letter ‘daled,’ and so on.
Reference to the Context
a. How do Hindu nationalists refute the Chinese claim that human history really began with the Yellow Emperor and the Xia and Shang dynasties? Who do you agree with, and why?
➜ Hindu nationalists refute the Chinese claim that human history really began with the Yellow Emperor and the Xia and Shang dynasties by claiming that ancient Indian sages developed planes and nuclear bombs long before Confucius, Plato, Einstein, and the Wright brothers.
I agree with the Hindu nationalists over the Chinese claim as Hinduism is found to be the oldest religion in the world according to various scientific as well as archaeological studies.
b. The author has dealt with a controversial debate on human history. Why do you think history has been a major contested issue in the present world?
➜ The author has dealt with a controversial debate on human history. I think history has been a major contested issue in the present world due to egoism. Most individuals believe they are the centre of the universe and that their culture is superior to all others. They believe their history is the oldest and that everything is descended or originated from their culture. Because of egoism, history has become a major source of contention in the modern world. The author wishes to remove humanity’s sense of superiority and domination.
Reference beyond the text
a. Write a short essay on The Conflicting History of Human Civilization.
➜ The Conflicting History of Human Civilization: An Essay
When we discuss the History of Human Civilisation, we never stop claiming that the civilization to which we belong is the first and most significant. We are shrouded in the cloak of supremacy and dominion over our own race. Our nature is to desire to be at the centre of the universe. The same ego may be found in humans from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Maya, India, China, Rome, Greece, and Persia. This is true of Abrahamic and Indian religions.
According to many Greeks, history started at Athens, Sparta, Alexandria, or Constantinople. This notion is refuted by the Chinese, who accept that history began under the reigns of the Yellow Emperor, the Xia, and the Shan Dynasties. They also believe that Western, Muslim, and Indian innovations are pale imitations of Chinese inventions. Hindus assert that all current scientific breakthroughs may be traced back to their civilisation. Ancient sages of the Indian subcontinents devised rockets, missiles, and atomic theories. Muslims, on the other hand, believe that the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran were the first.
Turkish, Iranian, and Egyptian nationalists contend that their countries were the fountainhead and keepers of Islam’s purity before Muhammad and the Quran. The British, French, Germans, Americans, Russians, and Japanese all claim to have accomplished remarkable feats and to have liberated humanity from barbaric and immoral ignorance. The Aztecs are confident that their sacrifice is the cause of the prevention of the universe’s dissolution. Even Jews take credit for some of the world’s most notable innovations. Even Abraham is credited with inventing yoga poses. Yoga positions were developed from the Hebrew alphabet. Even they believe that the study of sacred writings by Jewish rabbis is the primary reason for the universe’s annihilation.
In reality, all of these claims are wrong. Such assertions are the result of egoism and racism. Rather, these religions or civilizations were the first to colonise the world and domesticate plants and animals. To attribute to them a more recent location and period is nothing more than a gross egotism. Morality, art, spirituality, and creativity are universal human traits that are encoded in our DNA. We dislike criticising our own people, culture, religion, or habits. Instead, we glorify them. We are lacking in modesty. This is the primary source of conflict between human civilizations.
b. The author claims, “Since it is more polite to criticize one’s own people than to criticize foreigners.” Do you agree to his claim? Give your reasons.
➜ Harari claims in his essay “Humility” that it is more polite to criticise one’s own people than foreigners. I agree with his statement since criticising outsiders cause tension. People are extremely preoccupied with their own history and civilization. They do not like to hear somebody from another faith or group criticise their own religion or community. We accept without question what is stated or published about our culture, religion, and civilization. What fools believe that the existence of the cosmos is dependent on human sacrifice and the study of sacred writings. No one knows how long this universe has been, and it is just egotism to claim that human sacrifice and the reading of religious text save the cosmos from being demolished. If ancient sages had invented missiles and rockets, humans may have landed on the moon thousands of years ago. If we oppose such things and we are foreigners, it will lead to a conflict between two groups of people. If we wish to fix ourselves, we must first identify the flaws in our culture.